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E-M:/ Re: Aspen Clearcuts

Title: Re: Aspen Clearcuts
I received this message from Tom and decided to broadly reply to this list. Since I spent so much time on the reply.

"Tom Carlson" <tcarlson@freeway.net>

Tim, Read your info on the enviro network. Have you ever stopped to think of why their cutting these areas. This timber is a crop just like corn or alfalfa, only on a longer rotation. Don't you own a lumber yard. Where do you think the material comes from that we build houses with. Your fight is with the increasing number of people on this earth who need homes. Stopping pop. growth will do more to slow down forest cuttings than anything else. The forests that you are fighting to allow to go to old growth are a renewable resource and they provide many benefits beside the wood they produce.  Also at the deer meeting in Gaylord, you quoted some figures about deer populations and forest acreages that didn't make sense. Did you include all lands or just forested acres when you came up with deer per square mile?TC

First is this Tom the DNR wildlife guy?

Second about the acreage figures I used at deer meeting,  I used the DNR Wildlife Division's goal of 1.3 million deer statewide (they of course have never reached that goal, the herd is likely at the 2 million or more mark in the fall, its hard to get a straight answer out of the DNR on this question), and quite clearly stated that *forested* acres at about 29,000 square miles, therefore simple math to 44 deer per.  For whole state it's 25 per, counting the cities, lakes etc.   This level (25 per) is likely also damaging to native plant communities, especially without any yearly fluctuation.  

If you take actual population of 2 million the figures are 35 per square mile counting all 57,000 sq. mile of Michigan, and 65 for forest land.   Outrageous lack of proper stewardship.  

Have you read any of the new research on effects of large deer populations on other plants and animals?  If your with the Department, have they bothered to look at the sound science that's out there?  My comments at the deer meeting were originally given at an NRC meeting two years ago!   I haven't yet gotten a reply.

As to the cutting, there's a different between forest and alfalfa, try reading "The Hidden Forest" by Jon R. Luoma, it's about the ecosystem research being done at the Andrew Research Forest in Oregon.   It'll dissuade you on the Alfalfa question.

Timber is not a renewable resource!  That statement is wrong on two fronts, first the resource is not timber, it's the ecological diversity of the forest.  Timber is a product taken from the resource.  Secondly, the renew-ability of the forest ecosystem under a disturbance regime of clearcutting, or even less intensive logging, is only a theory.  A forest may be able to renew itself if logged, but given our lack of understanding of the processes maintaining a forest community, no one can say it's renewable; with any assurance.

Given this , personally I'm for protecting at least 10% of Michigan as native habitat, Ontario has already protected 13%!   This would act as a control on our forestry experiments, and as a counter weight to our ignorance.  That would leave 4/5 of our forests open to logging, hopefully a lot better done than we do it today.   That doesn't seem like too much, does it?  10 % for all our fellow creatures and 90 % for our use?  Well it does sound a little greedy on our part, but at least it'd be a start.  A beginning, a system where we protect the best of what's left.  We may find we need more later, and I'm open to protecting more for our fellow creatures.

How do we get to 10 percent or more?  Well if we had at least 50% percent of our public forest conserved at wild native habitat, we'd be close to the 10 % statewide!  

Habitat loss is the number one reason we are losing species, and populations of species.   Clearcuts and current logging patterns on our State Forests, are altering habitat in such a way that Michigan species have never experience before in their evolutionary history.  No Michigan species are dependant on clearcuts, including our selves.   Habitat alteration from logging is occurring in forests that have the potential to be the last refuge from urban and suburban sprawl.   Yet even here we are altering habitat in ways very different from our historic forests, all without providing hardly any conservation zones as a control to this habitat alteration program.

Yes, population pressures are increasing, but our forests can't be put on overtime.  The sun only shines about half the day, don't know how you can change that.   So we can't chase demand, we now have about one acre of forest per person on this planet, in 15 years that's projected to be only 2/3 of an acre.   

Clearly, the market will have to adjust to decreasing per person supply.  It will do so with substitutes, longer lives for our homes, recycling, etc.   In the meantime we sure as hell shouldn't trash the last best habitat in Michigan, protecting wild native forests, in a shrinking world, becomes even more important.  Protecting a large representative sample of our native forests will help "save all the pieces".   If we do this one day our grandchildren will have something left to put back together, some glory and spirit left in this world to inspire them.

Sounds to me like something worth fighting for!

Tim Flynn